Submitted by , posted on 19 April 2002

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The web site Ludum Dare - a website for indie game developers to meet and discuss junk - held its first contest this weekend. It was the 24 Hour Game Programming Competition. The theme was Indirect Interaction, which worked out beautifully, because every entry was totally different, instead of seeing the same thing executed 20 different ways. You actually were required to do *everything* in the 24 hours - art, sound, code, everything. And there were rules on what libraries you could use, to limit you to starting with just the absolute basics (no rotating alpha-blended sprite functions or anything - just straight blitting). That was intended to get you working only on the core issue: gameplay. This shot is of my entry, Castle Smash. You can download it and all the other entries at the Ludum Dare site.

My entry is kinda like an RTS. You start with 5 peasants, who do nothing but wander, and you build Schools, Barracks, and Guilds, to train your peasants to become Workers (which harvest wheat to make more peasants, and gold to buy more buildings/walls/bridges), Warriors (which attack the enemy castle and people), and Wizards (which defend your castle). I'm actually really proud of how it turned out. I forgot it was possible to make games so quickly, and this contest has really helped me get back into the "true spirit of game development"... it's like a Game Dev Carol!

There's not a lot of special features to discuss - this was made in 17 hours, you know... but in the shot, you can see workers harvesting stuff, and my mighty yellow warriors well on their way to absolutely wiping out the red castle (it's a 2 player game, I was playing yellow). There are also some wizards milling about in my castle area. Your own troops can walk through your walls - consider it symbolic of there being gates in them, okay? You can also see a little red dot where a yellow warrior and a red warrior are duking it out across the water (there's also one right on the red warrior's face!) - warriors fight by shooting little dots at each other. I didn't want to write any aiming code, so they actually shoot in random directions, but it's okay - it adds to the tension of combat! Because the theme of the contest is Indirect Interaction, you can't make your people do anything. Each type of person just automatically acts in a certain way. All you can do is build buildings (and blow up buildings you don't want anymore). The number of the different types of buildings you make influence how many peasants choose which jobs (if you have more Barracks, you'll get more of them to become Warriors, and stuff like that).

There are about 20 other entries at the website to check out, so you should go see what your fellow developers can do in 24 hours! And they all include source code, so you can rip off our hard work. Please don't do that. Here's a link to the list of entries:

Mike Hommel
Hamumu Software

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